On a Sunday afternoon in Tallahassee, a perfect day for a ball game, two members of the ACC engaged in a hard fought game with the series on the line. In the end, it was the home team that delievered the final blow as the Florida State Seminoles won it in the bottom of the ninth on an Alex Perez error.
For the second consecutive week, the Virginia Tech Hokies have won the first game of the their series on the road only to drop the final two games and lose the series.
The stinger in this game will be that they had the game in hand, and let it slip through the tips of their fingers.
Jumping out quickly on Seminole freshman pitcher Cobi Johnson was the Hokies’ senior Perez, who hit a home run in the first to take an early 1-0 lead. In his 199th consecutive start as a member of the Hokie baseball team, Perez reached base four-of-five times, including three hits overall. He also scored the first three times he reached base.
Sean Keselica continued his great start to conference play, but this time instead of doing so on the mound he did so in the batters box. The senior drove in three runs, including a two-run single in the third that pushed the Hokies lead to 3-0.
But the Seminoles dug in, and slowly scrapped their way led by Alec Byrd – who pitched in relief of Johnson after he only pitched the first 4 1/3 innings. Byrd took over and pitched all the way into the ninth before giving way to Billy Strode, who finished out the inning and eventually earned the win.
Sophomore Luke Scherzer entered the game after John Woodcock (6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 5 K) was pulled. Scherzer was handed the task of closing out the final eight outs and secure a series victory. The righty struggled with his control however as he walked three Seminole batters and hit another two.
With just an one-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Hokies played themselves out of a win as the Seminoles only needed one hit to load the bases and score the tying and eventual winning run on a Perez throwing error.
With the count 2-2, Scherzer threw a pitch that he – along with the rest of the Virginia Tech dugout – believed was strike three, only to be called a ball and force the count full. With only a single needed to win the game for Florida State, Josh Delph (who had entered the game as a substitute) hit a short chopper to a charging Perez who ended up overthrowing first baseman Brendon Hayden and allowing Dylan Busby and Nick Graganella to score.
The loss prevented from keeping the Hokies in lone possession of the second spot behind the Miami Hurricanes, as the North Carolina Tar Heels’ win pushed them into a tie with Virginia Tech.
For Florida State, it keeps them within a series win back of the Louisville Cardinals – who are cruising in their first season as members of the ACC.